Tetrahydrobiopterin rescues impaired responses of cerebral resistance arterioles during type 1 diabetes

William G. Mayhan, Denise M. Arrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Our goal was to test the hypothesis that administration of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) would improve impaired endothelial nitric oxide synthase-dependent dilation of cerebral arterioles during type 1 diabetes. In addition, we examined the influence of BH4 on levels of superoxide in brain tissue. In vivo diameter of cerebral arterioles in nondiabetic and diabetic rats was measured in response to endothelial nitric oxide synthase-dependent agonists (acetylcholine and adenosine 5′-diphosphate) and an endothelial nitric oxide synthase-independent agonist (nitroglycerine) before and during application of BH4 (1.0 μM). We also measured levels of superoxide from cortex tissue in nondiabetic and diabetic rats under basal states and during BH4. Acetylcholine and adenosine 5′-diphosphate dilated cerebral arterioles in nondiabetic rats, but this vasodilation was significantly impaired in diabetic rats. In contrast, nitroglycerine produced similar vasodilation in nondiabetic and diabetic rats. Application of BH4 did not enhance vasodilation in nondiabetic rats but improved impaired cerebral vasodilation in diabetic rats. Basal superoxide levels were increased in cortex tissue from diabetic rats, and BH4 reduced these levels to that found in nondiabetic rats. Thus, BH4 is an important mediator of endothelial nitric oxide synthase-dependent responses of cerebral arterioles in diabetes and may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of cerebral vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes and Vascular Disease Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • adenosine 5′-diphosphate
  • brain
  • rats
  • superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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